Mid-course Surveys

If you'd like to ask students for feedback on how your course is going, you might consider running a mid-course survey. The midpoint of a term is a good time for feedback surveys; it's late enough for students to provide meaningful feedback but early enough for you to make changes.

We developed generic survey templates for instructors to use in their courses that are relevant to current teaching practices. The survey templates are Qualtrics files that you can upload to the platform. We welcome you to adopt the templates or to customize them to best suit your needs.

Survey templates

There are two templates for you to choose from: the Mid-Course Survey Template and the Short Mid-Course Survey Template.

Mid-Course Survey Template

This survey offers open-ended and closed-ended questions to choose from, depending on your specific needs. We suggest you create your own survey using the set of questions in this template, including at least one open-ended question for comments.

Short Mid-Course Survey Template

This survey mainly uses open-ended questions. We recommend using it as is.

Using the templates

To use one of the templates:

  1. Create a new Qualtrics project and upload the template in the Qualtrics Survey Format (qsf file extension).
  2. Edit the introduction (e.g., course code, teaching team) and the rest of the survey to suit your needs.
  3. Consider turning on the Prevent Multiple Submissions setting to prevent students from answering multiple times.
  4. Publish the survey.
    • Note: if you make any changes to your survey after publishing it, you'll need to publish it again for the changes to go into effect.
  5. Create a link to distribute the survey.
  6. Send the survey link to your students.

Survey benefits

There are many benefits to running a mid-course survey:

  • Gain student feedback on particular aspects of your course so that you know what's working well and where you can make improvements.
  • Encourage dialogue between instructors and students.
  • Demonstrate to students in a highly visible way that you care about their feedback and their learning. This is a small gesture that can go a long way in alleviating their anxiety about learning and wellbeing. 
  • Instructors who run mid-course feedback surveys tend to see improved student evaluation of teaching scores.
  • Results are strictly for your own use and benefit.

Best practices

Here are some best practices for running a mid-course survey:

  • Surveys shouldn't take more than 5–10 minutes to complete.
  • Ideally, there should be 5 or fewer questions.
  • Surveys should have at least one open-ended question for comments.
  • Students are more likely to provide honest feedback when surveys are anonymous.
  • To ensure that students participate and provide useful answers, explain your rationale for collecting their feedback.
  • Be prepared to address things that you can and are willing to change, preferably in the current term and possibly in subsequent course offerings.
  • Report to students what you learned from their feedback (generally in aggregate) and what changes you plan on making. If you are not able to make a requested change, explain the reason.
  • Reflect throughout the rest of the term on issues arising from the feedback.

Survey support

If you need support with these templates or with feedback surveys more broadly, please reach out to your department's Science Education Specialist. We also welcome suggestions for improving the templates.